Reviewed by: Scott Brennan
Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer
antisocial personality disorder
disappearance of people
Rooney Mara … Lisbeth Salander
Daniel Craig … Mikael Blomkvist
Robin Wright Penn … Erika Berger
Stellan Skarsgård … Martin Vanger
Christopher Plummer … Henrik Vanger
Joel Kinnaman … Christer Malm
Joely Richardson … Anita Vanger
Embeth Davidtz … Annika Blomkvist
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Scott Rudin Productions
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Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment
Sequel: “The Girl in the Spider's Web: A New Dragon Tattoo Story” (2018)
WARNING! This movie should not be rated anything less than NC-17! It really should have XXX after the NC-17. If you are a parent reading this, I strongly suggest you speak with your children about NOT seeing this film. I, unfortunately, saw young teenagers sneak into the theater where I viewed this movie and complaints to the management accomplished little.
Not only is there complete nudity during a brutal rape scene (rear only for the male), but it includes violence and torture and leaves nothing to the imagination, as the young woman is handcuffed face down to the bed as her perpetrator mumbles, “Oh I forgot to ask, I hope you like anal sex.”
If that wasn’t enough, the retaliation that she delivers later in the film (“A Clockwork Orange” style) is equally as brutal, as she manages to taze the man repeatedly until she has him in similar position, with his mouth gagged, only face up on the bed. Once she inserts a large black dildo up his rectum, she proceeds to tattoo a self-incriminating statement on his chest and belly in large letters, as he screams in agony, while she whispers, “This is going to hurt.”
There are so many other things that are disturbing about this film, that it would take pages to write them all, but sufficient to say they are not good.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is the first book in the trilogy known as the “Millennium Series,” first published back in 2005 in Sweden by author Stieg Larsson, a year after his untimely death in 2004. I remember catching wind of this disturbing series, but paid little attention to it until I heard that was being published in English in 2008. If that wasn’t enough, it was released as a Danish/Swedish film in 2009 by the title “Män som hatar kvinnor,” which means “Men Who Hate Women,” and started to develop a following of fans.
Full disclosure, I have not read the books (which were unpublished at the time of his death), nor have I seen the foreign film version—but I have read quite a bit about the author, and by the author in other publications in order to prepare for this review.
Stieg Larsson, was himself a magazine editor in Stockholm, just as Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) was in the film. In real life, Larsson claimed to have witnessed the gang rape of a young girl when he was 15 and never forgave himself for failing to help her. Like the girl in “…Dragon Tattoo,” her name was Lisbeth—herself a rape victim in the film and the inspiration of the theme of sexual violence against women that appeared in his many articles, publications, and books—even prior to writing this trilogy.
Other European reviewers of Larsson have noted his repeated targets (as a political writer) which were—other than violence against women: 1) incompetence and cowardice of investigative journalists, 2) the moral bankruptcy of big capital, and 3) the alleged strain of Nazism he believed still simmered away in Swedish society just beneath the surface. All of these themes are present in this crime-mystery-thriller-film bound together in a complicated plot that covers at least two generations. In that plot, there is incest, murder, torture, rape, blackmail, adultery, violence, and every kind of evil imaginable.
Without going into details about Stieg Larsson’s family, political history, or relationships with friends, who were either communist/anarchists or other unsavory characters, what can be said is what is included in the storyline of this script. Without direct accusation, there is subtle inference that characterizes the history of abuse toward women as somehow an offshoot of the beliefs of individuals who view the Bible as the “Word of God.”
The entire unraveling of the mystery in this thriller is about some secret numbers which turn out to be chapter and verse references to texts in Leviticus—the end result being, God’s command that “they shall be put to death.” Begging the question, is maybe, if only we didn’t have these archaic religious relics of Scripture and such a stringent belief system in our society, then perhaps we could prevent the depravity of men from coming into existence at all? Included, also, in his writings are liberal notions about how much can be blamed on our upbringing or our society, as if to absolve the actions of every individual who cannot control their will like Lisabeth could/or couldn’t in the book.
The EMO girl, with the dragon tattoo, has the scent of the dragon written upon her heart, no thanks to the terrible life she must have endured as a child. But to give her license to exert her revenge on all who might get in her way, to the point that the audience roots for her success, is to give glory to the dragon himself. Isaiah 5:20 states,
Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Extreme
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.